Saturday, September 4, 2021

William Parker & Patricia Nicholson - No Joke! (October 29, 2021 ESP - Disk')

“He stands now as one of the most adventurous and prolific bandleaders in jazz.”
— David French, DownBeat

“William Parker pursues spirituality through hard work. He plays bass as if reaching heaven is a matter of steadily, repeatedly knocking until someone opens the door; he's one of the avant-garde jazz players most dedicated to the pursuit of higher purpose and heightened awareness in music, and he approaches it with a heavy, elemental tone.”
— Chris Dahlen, Pitchfork

“Patricia Nicholson… is also an outstanding poet and dancer.”
— Chris Tart, DownBeat

“Parker's creative energies have made him the unofficial mayor of the New York improvisational scene.”
— Piotr Michalowski, Ann Arbor Observer

William Parker is a towering figure in 21st century avant-garde music, widely recognised as a crucial link to the heart of free jazz, and a true heavyweight of the double bass.”
— Daniel Spicer, BBC 

1. Flare Up
2. Little Black Kid with the Swollen Stomach
3. Struggle
4. Wilted Light as Flower
5. No Joke

2/4: William Parker, bass; James Brandon Lewis, tenor sax; Devin Brahja Waldman, alto sax; Francesco Mela, drums, vocal on 2
1/3/5: William Parker, bass; Patricia Nicholson, spoken word, James Brandon Lewis, tenor sax; Devin Brahja Waldman, alto sax; Melanie Dyer, viola; Gerald Cleaver, drums

All music by William Parker, centering music. All words by Patricia Nicholson except “Little Black Kid with the Swollen Stomach” by William Parker.

Recorded (2/4: July 30, 2020; 1/3/5: September 5, 2019) and mixed at Park West Studios by Jim Clouse.
Cover art and packaging layout by Bill Mazza Studio.

Larry Ochs & Donald Robinson - A Civil Right (2021 ESP - Disk')

This duo’s second and definitive recording will be released on ESP-Disk' - the legendary free jazz label where Albert Ayler released his breakthrough recording in 1964, the first jazz recording on ESP. A lot has changed since 1964, but a lot and perhaps too much remains virtually the same. So their "free jazz" music, while influenced by many musical discoveries and sociological developments that have become part of the firmament over the past 50+ years, still celebrates and revels in the spirit of Sixties free jazz.

Ochs is a founding member of the great ROVA Saxophone Quartet, one of the Bay Area’s avant-garde treasures since 1978. Robinson – “a percussive dervish,” according to Coda – was the drummer of choice for ROVA’s revivification of John Coltrane’s Ascension. The East Bay Express has said of the saxophonist’s sound: “Ochs’ full-bodied tenor is out of the John Coltrane/Albert Ayler ‘free’ tradition: forceful, passionate… talking-in-tongues,” while the Chicago Reader said about the drummer and his relationship with Ochs, “Robinson is neither flashy nor explosive, but his playing has heft and he covers lots of ground – he can maintain a feeling of order while playing meter-less rhythms or transform the pulse of jagged post-bop until it’s almost abstract. He’s a good match for Ochs, and over the decades the two of them have developed a fine-tuned rapport.”

Although Ochs and Robinson have collaborated in various groups for more than 20 years – including in the trio What We Live with bassist Lisle Ellis – their duo is a recent phenomenon, having developed over the past couple of years. Ochs says, “Our playing together has evolved to a really special place, I think. We’re definitely coming out of the tradition of horn-drum duos from John Coltrane & Rashied Ali to Wadada Leo Smith & Billy Higgins, but we’ve found our own space after a long stretch of shows together. Our set will include new, original material, with some high-energy playing and things that are more spatial, as well as some homages to more popular music. In a sparse setting like this, the music hits a listener right away – nothing is obscured, everything is clear.” 
1. Arise the Poet 12:33
2. Yesterday and Tomorrow 08:57
3. A Civil Right 05:36
4. The Others Dream 13:03
5. Regret 05:49

Larry Ochs, saxophones
Donald Robinson, drums

East Axis - Cool With That (2021 ESP - Disk')

Allen Lowe says: “To me, free improvisation is another form of narrative, just as linear in terms of the consciousness of moving from one place to another, as any kind of storytelling. Yes, anyone can do it, you might say (and this is an old argument in jazz circles) but not everyone can do it with purpose and form and like they really mean it. This group is the epitome of all that has changed for the better in jazz in the past 50 years, and I am thrilled to be in it.”

Kevin Ray says: “This band is both exhilarating and terrifying to play with. You never know where the music will go, just that it’s somewhere exciting, and you hope you can keep up. Allen has a wonderful sense of melody, Matt is an endless font of ideas, and this rhythm section is a dream to be in—Gerald is tasteful, stunningly creative, and grooves like hell. I’m so glad to be a part of it.”

Matthew Shipp says: “I am always looking for new situations to renew who I am and the language I am involved with—this group has allowed me to reboot my brain. Allen is a unique figure, who is unlike anyone I play with in any other situation. Kevin has a delicious cross section of experience over several genres that gives him a different look than a bassist who might be seen as the usual in the idiom. Gerald—who I have a history with—is different now because he has had such a deep and cross section of experiences since then. The music this group makes is unique. I really enjoy playing with these gentlemen.”

Gerald Cleaver says: “To paraphrase Miles Davis, ‘This is social music.’ My take on free jazz is that it’s not free at all, rather (in my mind) many, many contexts and frames of reference held at once. Playing this set with Matt, Allen, & Kevin took me through some really nice interactions and reaffirmed for me that the roots of this music are still strong.”
1. A Side 12:10
2. Oh Hell I Forgot About That 10:41
3. Social Distance 06:10
4. I'm Cool With That 07:35
5. One 28:29

Matthew Shipp: piano
Allen Lowe: alto and tenor sax
Gerald Cleaver: drums
Kevin Ray: bass

All compositions by Shipp/Lowe/Cleaver/Ray.

Recorded, mixed, and mastered, by Jim Clouse at Park West Studios in Brooklyn, NY, August 9, 2020.
Album design and 3D renderings by Pablo A. Medina.
Produced by East Axis and Steve Holtje.

Michael Bisio / Kirk Knuffke / Fred Lonberg-Holm - The Art Spirit (2021 ESP - Disk')

This music is inspired by Robert Henri (June 24, 1865 - July 12, 1929) artist, teacher, writer and an organizer of the group known as "The Eight," a loose association of artists who protested the restrictive exhibition practices of the powerful, conservative National Academy of Design.

1. Not a Souvenir of Yesterday 05:10
2. r. henri 07:49
3. Both Keys Belong to You 11:17
4. Use Them 06:51
5. Orange Moon Yellow Field 05:35
6. Things Hum 05:03
7. Like Your Work As Much As 11:01
8. A Dog Likes to Gnaw a Bone 09:08

Michael Bisio: bass
Kirk Knuffke: cornet and soprano cornet
Fred Lonberg-Holm : cello/electronics
Recorded 24 September 2018 by Eli Winograd at Lone Pine Road, Kingston NY

“r. henri,” “Orange Moon Yellow Field,” and “Things Hum” composed by Michael Bisio, AMB Music ASCAP. All other compositions by Michael Bisio, AMB Music ASCAP; Kirk Knuffke, BMI; Fred Lonberg-Holm, BMI.
Band photo by Peter Gannuskin.

Jeff Pearring - Pearring Sound Socially Distanced Duos (2021)


Wednesday, September 29th 8pm
Pearring Sound
636 Dean St
Brooklyn, NY 11238 

Pearring Sound
Jeff Pearring, alto sax
Ron Horton, trumpet
Russ Lossing, piano
Adam Lane, bass
Billy Mintz, drums

This event can also be live-streamed up to 72 hours after the performance.

During the last part of the COVID era, altoist Jeff Pearring offers a set of duets that, while socially distanced, feature close communication with a variety of fellow greats

Musicians Names + Instruments: Billy Mintz, drums 1,2, Cameron Brown, bass 5,6, Claire de Brunner, bassoon 3, Daniel Carter, soprano saxophone 7, Francisco Mela, drums 8, Ken Filiano, bass 4, Jeff Pearring, alto saxophone all tracks

2020 was an extremely difficult year for all musicians but some took advantage of the extreme limitations to express themselves in unique ways. Alto-saxophonist Jeff Pearring, who under the group name of “Pearring Sound” normally leads units ranging from trios to a quintet, wanted to interact with other inventive musicians but in a safe manner. He decided to play duets with six diverse but very talented musical partners, resulting in the eight selections that comprise Pearring Sound Socially Distanced Duos.
“Twisting Pavement,” the first of two duets with Billy Mintz (leader of the ten-piece Two Bass Band and a drummer who has had important associations with the likes of Mike Garson, Vinny Golia, Bill Mays, Charles Lloyd, and Alan Broadbent among countless others), begins with Mintz setting the mood before Pearring constructs a melodic and rhythmic improvisation. They also team up together on “Time In Isolation,” a relaxed jazz waltz that serves as a showcase for the altoist.
Alto-bassoon duets are not exactly common, but there are few improvising bassoonists with the abilities of Claire de Brunner who studied with Lee Konitz and Connie Crothers and has worked with some of the most adventurous musicians in the New York area. On “Shapeshifter,” she is very much an equal partner with Pearring as they inspire each other during their passionate encounter. Ken Filiano has been an important bassist since the 1980s, working with Vinny Golia, Anthony Braxton and the who’s who of the avant-garde, appearing on over 150 albums. He pushes Pearring throughout “A Continuous Conversation Renewed,” coming up with a nonstop flow of creative ideas while swinging throughout. Bassist Cameron Brown worked extensively with Sheila Jordan, the Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet, Archie Shepp. and Dewey Redman. He performs Miles Davis’ “Solar” and the playful “No, We Don’t” with Pearring, playing subtle and inventive lines. Saxophonist Daniel Carter, who has had important associations with William Parker and Matthew Shipp and has led at least 50 albums of his own, plays soprano-sax on “Present Value Impact, the Gift,” a pretty ballad that features the two horns spontaneously harmonizing with each other. Francisco Mela has played drums with an endless number of top artists from the jazz and Latin music worlds including Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, and Chucho Valdes. He teams up with Jeff Pearring on the set’s final duet, “Extempore Arquitectura,” an episodic musical adventure that begins with quite a bit of fire before becoming lyrical and wistful. 
Jeff Pearring was born in Colorado, started on the alto saxophone when he was ten, and had a career in economics before switching to music. He worked early on in classical music, ska and reggae, but turned towards jazz, studying with the late pianist-educator Connie Crothers, one of his mentors. With his constantly evolving Pearring Sound, the altoist recorded What Had Happened in 2016 (featuring electric bassist Adam Lane and drummer Flin van Hemmen), 2018’s True Story (Connie Crothers’ last recording which also includes Ken Filiano and drummer Carlo Costa), and Nothing But Time (2019) with bassist Lane and drummer Tim Ford.
Socially Distanced Duos is the most unusual of the Pearring Sound recordings but is quite timely and features Jeff Pearring in top form as the COVID era finally begins to end.

1. Twisting Pavement 6:45 
2. Time in Isolation 8:45 
3. Shapeshifter 4:42 
4. A Continuous Conversation Renewed 5:32 
5. Solar 3:12 (Miles Davis) 
6. No, We Don’t 3:11 
7. Present Value Impact, the Gift 3:55 
8. Extempore Arquitectura 5:49

All tracks composed by Pearring Sound except where noted

AVAILABLE FROM: Amazon, Apple Music, CD baby, all streaming services

Coming Yesterday - Live at Salle Gaveau 2019 (vinyl) - Martial Solal (September 2021 Challenge Records)

Coming Yesterday is the recording of what turns out to be Martial's last concert, he decided to stop playing piano after that show:

Martial Solal
"When I walked onto the stage on January 23, 2019, I did not yet know that I would decide not to play piano anymore after this concert, more than seventy years after my debut. To maintain a certain level, this instrument requires your daily attention; it requires delicacy, brutality, and especially energy. I have lived with these demands all my life, with the joy of seeing the progress, the technical and musical advances, the rhythmic and harmonic enrichments that we acquire over time. Of course, everything goes very fast at first. As long as you are gifted, if you spend a little time on it, if you listen to what was done before you, if you choose a path, everything may seem easy. Progress is rapid, illusions are immense, and then walls arise, walls that you want to reach and overcome. Seventy years to achieve this is a minimum... When energy is no longer available, it is better to stop.

I had the impression on January 23 of having reached the beginning of a path that I would have liked to continue, after so many years of improvisation, of creation, based on what are called standards, which I call pretexts, challenges, essay topics that you can develop in a thousand and one ways according to the evolutions that arise in your mind or in your circle of musicians. The standards have gone out of fashion, replaced by other themes that most of the time may not have the qualities to become standards, the so-called “originals”. All musicians considered themselves composers, free jazz burst onto the scene and swept away old themes, eliminating the difficult rules of stability of tempo, harmony and melody. Some standards have survived, and those you will discover can be described as indestructible. They are always only pretexts for expressing ideas, but with relaxed rules, the rubato being entitled to be cited as well as accelerations, atonality or the absence of a continuous tempo.

That is what I was thinking on January 23. Part of this concert seems to reflect my knowledge to this date. For me, jazz remains that of the twentieth century, the one that saw the birth of New Orleans, middle jazz, be-bop, and free jazz. The first three of these jazz eras were built on ternary rhythms. Charlie Parker may have been the first to use sixteenth notes on a medium tempo, abolishing the necessity of this permanent balancing called swing that has disappeared in this form with the emergence of binary rhythms and phrasings. This style of rhythm no longer corresponds to what I considered essential. I preferred a greater freedom, playing on the melting of keys, rhythms, duration, style, rather than on the forced slavery of the “new” ones. Great freedom requires a lot of work. I’ve done my share. I want to thank those who helped me, who helped me progress thanks to their encouragement or criticism, to those who were kind enough to play alongside me, for me, who often played my compositions for years. Too bad for all those who have missed out what I have tried to offer them. Progress is a very selfish happiness. I feel as if I have sown a blade of grass during this concert, showing a direction that I would like to see continue. In some places, this grass has already grown enough to be considered a musical testament… improvised''
1 I Can't Get Started 06:55
2 Coming Yesterday 11:40
3 Medley Ellington 07:05
4 Sir Jack 04:36
5 Tea for Two 06:38
6 Happy Birthday 04:35
7 Lover Man 09:25
8 I'll Remember April 04:54
9 My Funny Valentine 05:59
10 Have You Met Miss Jones 04:26